Kochi/Mumbai: Two groups of Indian nationals evacuated from war-torn Yemen landed at Kochi and Mumbai international airports today morning.
Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster carrying 168 Indians, including nurses, landed at the Kochi airport around 2 am.
Another C17 Globemaster with 190 onboard landed around 3:25 am at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai.
They were part of as many as 350 Indians who yesterday reached at Djibouti after being evacuated on a Navy vessel from Aden, the seaport city of Yemen.
A spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry has said of 350 evacuees, 206 belong to Kerala, 40 are from Tamil Nadu, 31 from Maharashtra, 23 from West Bengal and 22 from Delhi besides other states.
The Indians were evacuated late on Monday night by INS Sumitra, which was diverted from its anti-piracy patrol in the region. It waited for hours to get local clearances as heavy fighting was reported in the city.
At Kochi airport, the evacuees were welcomed by Kerala Minister for Diaspora KC Joseph, PWD Minister Ibrahim Kunju and Ernakulam District Collector MG Rajamanikyam.
"168 people have arrived at Kochi airport in which some people are from Tamil Nadu," Joseph said.
A Kerala government official said the Non-Resident Keralites Affairs (Norka) cell would give Rs 2000 each to the people who returned from Yemen at the airport besides providing them free transportation facilities to reach home.
One of the evacuees, Mary Amma Vargeese said, she was working as a nurse in a hospital in Aden for past two years when one day she suddenly 'heard some exploding sound, after which I stopped going to work'.
"All the shops were closed, we didn't have food for many days," she said.
At Mumbai airport, Maharashtra Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prakash Mehta and MP Kirit Somaiya were present to welcome the evacuees.
"We received 190 people at Mumbai airport who were stranded in Yemen. They are feeling happy and free. Sushma Swaraj & Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis are personally monitoring situation," Somaiya said.
The Central Railway has offered free-of-cost travelling for the evacuees till their destinations.
The evacuation operation was a very difficult task as not much details were available with the IAF, Wing Commander Vikram Abbi, co-pilot of the flight said.